Miss Julia Barry was born in Killeentierna, Currow, Co Kerry, Ireland on 16 October 1881 although would claim much younger ages throughout her life1.
She was the daughter of Michael Barry (b. circa 1830), a stonemason and farmer, and Julia, née Prendiville (b. circa 1840)2 who were married in Arderone, Co Kerry in May 1859.
The youngest of twelve known children, Julia's siblings were: Mary (b. 1860), Abigail (b. 1862), Johanna (b. March 1863), Catherine (b. 21 September 1864), Ellen (b. 20 June 1866), Michael (b. 30 November 1868), Thomas (b. 10 August 1870), Patrick (b. 14 January 1873), James (b. 10 May 1875), Edmund "Edward" (b. 4 November 1877) and Johana (b. 16 June 1879).
Julia first appears on the 1901 census, the last child living with her aged parents at house 4 in Killeentierna, Co Kerry and with no stated occupation. Her brother Edward had emigrated around 1908 and lived in Yonkers, New York where he worked, like his father, as a stonemason; other siblings also made the crossing and her sister Mary lived with her family in Elizabeth, New Jersey whilst another sister Hannah Hayes reportedly lived in Franklin, New Hampshire and sister Ellen Shea lived in Springfield, Massachusetts.
Julia first crossed the Atlantic in 1905, departing from Queenstown on 2 September and arriving in Manhattan aboard the Cedric on 10 September 1905; described as a 19-year-old unmarried servant from Co Kerry, she was destined to the home of her sister Ellen "Nellie" Shea of Springfield, Massachusetts. It is possible she is the same Julia Barry listed on the 1910 census as a resident of that city, working as the maid of Charles D. Haskell and his family of 24 Dartmouth Street, Springfield. She would eventually settle in New York City3.
Julia had returned to Ireland in late-1910/early-1911 to help nurse her ill mother who was afflicted with a heart condition; she appeared on the snapshot of Ireland, the 1911 census, which was conducted on 2 April 1911. She and her father appeared living together at house 17 in Killeentierna. Curiously though her father, perhaps pre-empting events, described himself as a widowed mason; his wife, Julia's mother, lay dying in Killarney Union infirmary but did not pass away until a few weeks later on 21 April 1911 at age 71.
For her return to New York Julia had originally made plans to sail aboard the Celtic but switched to Titanic for a sooner crossing, writing to her brother Edward in Yonkers to inform him of the change in plan and asking him to meet her at the pier. Some days before she set off she went on a boat trip on the lakes of Killarney; she lost her parasol over the side and the boatman took this as a bad omen.
Julia boarded the Titanic in Queenstown on 11 April 1912 as a third class passenger (ticket number 330844 which cost £7, 17s, 7d). Contemporary media reported that she was travelling with five others; she had left them behind in Ireland in her haste to return to the USA4.
Julia Barry lost her life in the disaster and her body, if recovered, was never identified. Her brother Edward later travelled to the Cunard pier in the hope she was among the saved. Her sister Mary Cuffe had only learned that she was aboard when she saw her name on a list of the lost and was then contacted by her brother Edward who confirmed she was aboard.
Mrs. Thomas Cuffe, of 148 Livingston street, is prostrated with grief at her home today as a result of the loss of her sister, who perished when the waters of the Atlantic closed over the steamer Titanic. The sister, Miss Julia Barry, of 14 W thirty-second street, New York City, had Visited Mrs Cuffe many times, and she bad a large circle of friends in this city.
Elizabeth Daily Journal, 20 April 1912
Mrs Cuffe and her brother frantically searched New York hospitals in a vain attempt to locate their sister but the hunt was useless.
Julia's father remained in Killeentierna and several months later received a reparation payment for the loss of his daughter:
PAYS $3000 FOR DEATH ON TITANIC
White Star Line Settles Father's Claim.
Miss Julia Barry, Sister of Franklin Woman, Lost Life.
FRANKLIN, N. H., Aug 1, Mrs Hannah Hayes received word today from her father in Ireland that the White Star Line had settled a claim for the death of his daughter, Miss Julia Barry, by paying him $3000. Miss Barry lost her life in the wreck of the Titanic.
Boston Globe, 2 August 1912
Michael Barry died on 30 October 1916 and his estate, then worth £85, was administered to his daughter Abigail (Mrs John Reilly) of Creewood, Co Meath. Abigail later died in Navan, Co Meath on 2 March 1941. Her sister Mary Cuffe is believed to have remained with her family in Elizabeth, New Jersey where she died on 22 March 1925 and was buried with her husband Thomas (d. 1936) in Rosedale and Rosehill Cemetery, Linden, New Jersey.
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